Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Newborn Photos

When we lived in Illinois, a great friend of ours was a fabulous photographer (you can check her out here) and took gorgeous photos of Jake as a newborn.  She did them in our home and I thought, hmmm, maybe I could do that someday.  Since we've moved and she was not available to drive all the way here to photography Lilly (c'mon Jan, it's only a 9-hour drive!) I set up a little area in our house and did what I could.  The first batch were taken on day 13, and Jan suggests that newborn photos are done before the baby is two weeks old.  Honestly, I cut it a little bit close.  She was pretty much mad the entire time, but I did manage to get one or two:

I was hoping she'd sleep so I could really position her the way I wanted to, but she wasn't having it.  This girl loves to sleep, but she does not like to be messed with while she's snoozing!

A week later I couldn't resist and tried again.  She was still wide awake, but in a much better mood.  Here are some of my favorites:

This one makes me smile!

My "money shot" of the day came out a teensy bit blurry, but it will end up in a frame somewhere anyway:

I am still learning a lot... I'm finally pretty good with the functions of my "fancy" camera and have lighting pretty much figured out, which is half the battle I think, but there is plenty of room for improvement.  I can't wait until Jake is older and will actually cooperate and follow instructions so that I can use him as my guinea pig.  And if I could just learn how to edit in Photoshop I'd really be in good shape!  *sigh*  Guess I'll add that to the list of "things to do when I have some free time."  So basically I'll get around to it in about 18 years!  In the meantime, I need to get back to playtime with the little ones!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Prayers for a Friend...

I am a blog stalker.  I love to click on blog titles on the sidebar of my friends' blogs and see what their friends and acquaintances are up to and I feel like I'm not the only one.  So if any of you have ever stalked my blogs, you might have wondered why there are no posts on m + j = love after her last pregnancy update.  Surely you would have been expecting baby pictures and a birth story by now.  So in an effort to update you, I will let you know that her sweet baby boy, Tyson, was born on August 17th, but had breathing and heart problems shortly after.  For the past two months he has already undergone two heart surgeries and has been hooked to machines, one of which actually circulated his blood for him for awhile!  Meg and Justin have been spending as much time with him as possible at Vanderbilt's pediatric ICU and have been very close to losing him on more than one occasion.  The little sweet pea needs our prayers.

Motherhood really messes us women up, mostly in good ways, but in so many other ways, too.  Before having children, I probably would have read Meg's story and been very sad and concerned about it, but I doubt I would have checked Facebook multiple times everyday to see how he's doing (which, if you are interested, can be found at Help Tyson Fight on Facebook).  I probably would have said a prayer or two every once in awhile, but would not have found myself in tears when I pray for their little family, as well as the other families that are going through similar situations.  Before having children of my own, I would have been worried about Tyson's progress, but would have given little thought to how difficult this must be for Meg and her husband, Justin.  Meg has only held her son on a few occasions, and that thought alone makes my heart ache in big ways.  I honestly feel like their presence with him probably does just as much, if not more, than all of those doctors, machines, and procedures combined.

As for Meg and Justin, they are handling this with grace and courage, taking it one day at a time.  Their posts and updates remain as optimistic as possible, even though I know that this has to be the hardest thing they've ever experienced, and it's not like it was by choice.  I know that as parents, we'd all do the same, handling it the best way that we know how.  I know that when Jake just has a head cold, I feel absolutely helpless, so I cannot imagine how much harder their days must be, which is why I pray.  When a situation seems helpless, that is the time when prayer is needed the most, and I decided to share their story in order to have more people praying for them.  I want nothing more than to see them finally take Tyson home, and he has sure put up a fight thus far!  So please join me in praying, whether it be just once or everyday, for Meg, Justin, and baby Tyson.  And if you're reading this and have little ones (or big ones) of your own, make sure you thank your Heavenly Father for those precious gifts.  And hopefully one day soon you will click on my blog and notice that m + j = love has jumped to the top of my blog roll, filled with happy pictures and updates of a healthy baby Tyson.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  If you ask me, that's a prayer worth saying!

Thanks for reading... as a blogger I can get caught up with updates about my own life and family, but I am glad I can use it today to help a friend instead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Full Sentences

We are now talking in full sentences, which basically means a noun and a verb.  Here's the proof:

Josh: You stink.  Did you poop?
Jake: I pooped.

[ Pregnant Pause ]

Jake: Ohhhh nooooooo.

Love that kid.  Wish I had this conversation recorded!  Mind you, this does not mean that we are anywhere near ready for potty training.  This kid has absolutely NO interest!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Progress on the Plant

To say I've been consumed with Lillian over the past couple of weeks would be an understatement.  To be honest, I think I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession over this little girl.  I was quite possessive of Jake, too, when he was a newborn, and I think it's due to the fact that I could literally just sit, hold, and stare at my little ones all day long.  And Lilly is such a cuddlebug and such an easy-going baby that it makes it even easier.  So between caring for the both of them and spending my "free time" completely captivated by my new daughter, not much else has gotten done.  And then I realized that she has also taken over the blog, too... not that anyone minds I'm sure.

So today I am sitting down and finally updating you all on what we really moved here for... our church plant!  I know many folks are wondering how it's going, what's happening, etc. so hopefully I can find a way to put it all into words without writing a novel... hitting the big points if you will.  And the scary part is  that our story starts back in March...

Well, to be technical about it, our story starts so very long before that as Josh told me when we first met that he wanted to be a church planter, but as you know, our journey first took us to Small Town, Illinois. But last winter/spring, we felt like the time was drawing near and Lexington continued to pop up on our radar.  Every time we came to Lexington to visit my sister and her family, we just felt something special, like it was home.  We took a couple of trips just to explore the area and stumbled upon the area that we felt had the greatest need, and therefore offered the biggest opportunity to make an impact and lead folks to Jesus.  Essentially, it's a neighborhood that has thousands of homes, most of which are owned or rented by young families.  Between there and the town north of it, there are 100,000 people and only five churches.  Yes... five!  And they aren't five large churches either, so needless to say, there are thousands of families in this area without a church home.  And perhaps they just stopped looking for one if they ever were in the first place.  Something had to be done.  It was during these trips and our conversations at home that the vision and details for TurningPoint Church, our future church plant, began to really take shape.

On that same trip we also drove by those five churches, just to get a feel for what was in the area.  The closest one to the neighborhood was a little bit off of the main road leading in and the building was in a very industrial area.  Josh was actually able to go in and meet the receptionist even though it was after office hours.  The receptionist took him for a quick tour of the building, assuming that he was interested in coming to church there, and I stayed in the car with Jake.  He was very impressed with the building, especially considering that it looks pretty small from the outside, and was disappointed that the pastor was not there.  Little did we know that we had really stumbled upon our future that day.

During subsequent visits, we again visited area churches.  Our friend, Zach (whose family will be joining us here eventually), came with us on one trip and we decided to drive by this same church again to show him what was in the area.  Again, we didn't go in, and in fact if I remember correctly, Jake got sick in the car... on me.  And in my purse.  Oh the joys of motherhood!  But despite that, there was something about the place that kept drawing us in.  I can't explain it, but there was a strange level of curiosity about the place, even though we had never been to a service or met the pastor.  We were still moving forward with our plans to plant our church based on the vision and big picture that we felt God had given us.  So as you know, in August, we moved to Kentucky full-time.

Being a church planter has its busy and slow seasons, just like any other job.  While my job ramped up (mainly because I was working extra hours to make sure my office was set up and prepared for my maternity leave), Josh's days slowed down a bit.  He went about the business of setting up appointments with local organizations and trying to meet as many people as he possibly could, but it's tough when you don't know many people in the area.  He made sure to meet with local pastors as well, making sure that they understood that we were coming here to join them in serving the kingdom, reaching people who did not already have a church home.  One of these meetings was with Alex, the pastor of the church right down the road, and to say it went well would be an understatement.  I don't think either one of them expected to hit it off the way that they did, but Josh came home that day and told me that he felt that they would be friends for a long time.  It was a little weird, but I could tell that he was excited.  Josh gets along with everyone, but there was certainly something different going on.  He also told me that he wanted to start going to church there until we were up and running, and that we should do what we can to help serve his church and help them grow in the meantime.  Apparently the church was about seven years old, but had stayed pretty small since its doors opened.  After going to my first Sunday service there, I told Josh that it certainly wasn't small because of Alex's preaching, which was awesome by the way, and I could kind of see what Josh meant about us being able to help.  With our experience and training with the Association of Related Churches, the changes they needed to make to grow were pretty minor, but would make a big difference.

About a week after their first meeting, they met again, and this time Alex asked Josh what he thought about maybe doing this church plant together... as in, we would take our vision for TurningPoint Church and launch it with Alex's help, in his building, utilizing his congregation as our launch team.  Now let me just go on a tangent here and say that this just does not happen to church planters!  Church planting is generally a pretty lone-wolf endeavor, and finding a launch team is one of the biggest challenges.  The launch team is essentially a group of people who learn about the vision and become invested to the point that they volunteer wherever necessary to make the vision come to life.  They plug in everywhere, being greeters, working in kids ministry, and doing a lot of the behind the scenes and administrative stuff to make the machine go, as there is really no paid staff at a church plant.  Josh and I always said that if we could put together a launch team of thirty people (or preferably families) then we'd be in good shape, so imagine our surprise when Alex proposed this to us!  He was basically talking about us having a team of at least one hundred folks if not more and a building on top of that!  We had planned on meeting in an elementary school or gym, or anywhere that would take us really!  It was a lot to think about.

In the weeks that followed, Josh and I talked a lot about the possibility.  He sought council from other church planters and pastor friends, most of which told him that co-pastorship really just doesn't happen.  We met Alex's family for dinner one night, still uncertain about what the future held for our churches, and everything continued to click.  We all got along famously, and the possibility continued to get more and more realistic everyday.  It wasn't long before both families went with intuition and we decided that we were meant to do this ministry together.  As Josh and Alex continued to meet and plan, we continued to attend on Sundays, getting to know the families in their congregation, and joined their small group to continue to grow our relationship with their family.  Small group by the way is now the highlight of my week... God has really put some wonderful people around us during this time of transition and He continues to confirm our decision to move here over and over again.  As you can see from all that I've written already, this entire process has been perfectly orchestrated by Him and it gets more and more exciting everyday as His plans come to fruition.  I am in awe.

Three weekends ago, Josh preached as a "guest" at Alex's church.  His message was about whether we were servicing the kingdom or servicing the machine, or more simply put, our church home.  Are we making decisions to keep the people that are already in the church happy or are we doing things to find those who are lost and bring them in?  Jesus' entire message was to seek and save those who are lost, but churches can so easily become inwardly focused that they make newcomers feel unwelcome sometimes. He did a great job and I think a lot of people left thinking about things in a new way.  The following week Alex preached a message on taking ownership for actually living out that mission that Jesus put before us.  What are we doing as individuals to make this happen?  He then talked about what they were doing as a church to make this happen.  He did not reveal too much, but he did announce that Josh and I would be coming on-board and some changes would be taking place.  There would be a follow-up meeting on the next Wednesday night and he encouraged everyone to attend.

The Wednesday night meeting would be what I would consider our very first "launch team" meeting for TurningPoint Church.  Josh and I had been thinking about this day for months, and once again, God blew our socks off.  We had about 60 adults attend and Alex and Josh did a phenomenal job of laying out the vision of what could be if we made some changes to really reach out to those families who are not in church.  They reminded us all that it is not about getting more people in the seats, but about teaching those "more people" about God's love and helping them find their purpose.  It's about restoring relationships, seeing families grow stronger, spouses growing closer, parents teaching their children how to love better, and serving those around us.  Jesus simply told us to love one another and to share the good news with others... it's that simple.  And I think we forget that as we sit in our pews week after week.  It was nice to be reminded.  This past Sunday Josh preached the message again, but not as a guest, and it was very well received.  We also had our first "Next Steps" class, which is essentially a series of membership classes, and we had about forty people in attendance, several of which signed their membership agreement for TurningPoint.  What was once just a vision and a dream is now becoming a reality, and I am humbled and amazed to be even a small part of it.  I've said it before, but God is so very good and we are so incredibly blessed.

Phew... I knew I wouldn't get away with a short post on this!  But with all this being said, we are still planning our official launch of TurningPoint Church in February 2012.  It's a work in progress, but you can check out our website here.  You can also like us on Facebook.  We still have a lot of work to do (and that only picks up after we launch) but seeing the momentum build and putting some of our plans in place gets more and more exciting everyday.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us since this whole thing started.  We've had our ups and downs, but it has been such a great journey thus far.  The way everything is unfolding is definitely making this the most unconventional way to plant a church, but it just reminds me that it truly is God's plan and not ours that takes precedent.  If we just get out of our own way, He can do wondrous works all around us.  We will keep you all posted on what is to come in these next few months, but in the meantime, I have to get back to cuddling that sweet baby girl of mine.

We're sending all our love from Mauneyland.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Celebrating Lilly

Have I mentioned recently that I LOVE living near my family?  My sisters and mom missed the baby shower for Jake, so they wanted to do something special for Lilly.  They threw a party ten days after she was born, invited a few friends and family, and we had a very low-key welcome party for my sweet girl.  In a word, it was perfect.  The only thing missing was a few of you that couldn't make it, but I look forward to your visits soon!  Welcome, Baby Lilly!

The Guest of Honor... my pretty girl!

The food table... yummy!

Beautiful Decor

One of my residents from my UT days (and now one of my very best friends)... love you, Laura!

The award for farthest distance traveled goes to my Aunt Karen and cousin, Hillary!

The kiddos with their Great Grandaddy and Mawmaw.

Did I also mention how much my family and friends rock?  We had guests from Cincinnati, Atlanta, and even Cleveland come for the day!  Lilly sure is loved... and we sure are blessed.  Thanks to everyone for making our day so very very special.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Second Time Around

Labor and delivery... the fun part of having kids, right?  My doctor in Illinois told me that he wasn't sure which scenario was worse: having never been through it and having no clue how labor really feels or having been through it already and knowing (somewhat) what is coming for you.  I think he made a good point, but even with the long labor I had the firs time, I was actually looking forward to going through it again this time around.  Never in my life have I experienced something as miraculous as meeting my baby for the first time, and to have the opportunity to go through that again was something that I was very excited about.

Before I get into all of the details about how Lillian arrived into this world, I will preface it (for those of you who don't know) that with each of my pregnancies, I have to give myself a shot of blood thinners everyday.  When I was pregnant with Jake, a massive blood clot formed in my leg and so the doctors have me do this as a precautionary measure.  You can read all about it here, and about Jake's delivery here.  Because of the blood thinners, I am induced with each baby at 39 weeks, so that I can stop taking the shots 24 hours beforehand in order to prevent hemorrhaging.  In the event that I go into labor before 39 weeks, there is also a shot they could give me to reverse the thinners... it all sounds very complicated, but it's really not... especially since we knew the drill this time and also did not have the fear that an existing clot could possibly become dislodged during delivery like we had with Jake.  That alone made the idea of labor and delivery a little less stressful.

So anyhoo, just like with Jake, I really had the desire to go into labor on my own and have as natural of a birthing experience as possible.  I had some major issues with the epidural the first time (and I only got it because I so desperately needed sleep, which I never got!) and was nervous about going that route again.  I was measuring about a week and a half ahead (which was mostly fluid and not baby, thank goodness!) and having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, so I thought that there might be a good chance that it would happen.  So once again, I tried every old wives' tale in the book and even baked a batch of "Break Your Water Cookies" two nights before my induction date.  I could only stomach about seven of them before I felt like I was going to throw up... they taste a lot like gingerbread at first, but as soon as you swallow- look out!  There is a kick of cayenne pepper that will surprise (and potentially gag) you!  I would not recommend it, although they might be a nice thing to bake for that neighbor you don't like so much!  I also had two different doctors "strip my membranes" the week prior to help kick-start labor to no avail.  None of my efforts paid off, so by Sunday afternoon, I knew that we'd be heading to the hospital early in the morning for an induction.  Josh managed to go to bed pretty early, but I stayed up making sure the house was perfectly tidy for when I would bring Lilly home.  Once in bed, I laid awake and cherished every bump and move in my belly, knowing that I would miss it.  I was pretty bummed that once again nothing about my labor would be natural.  With Jake, they tried a "cervix-ripening" treatment to help me thin and dilate, but since I was already dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced, they would be going straight to pitocin from the get-go.  The plan was to start on that in the morning, the doctor would break my water a couple of hours later, and then the baby would probably arrive sometime that evening... again, nothing natural about it at all.  So as I laid there and thought about it, I went ahead and made the decision to stop debating about it and get an epidural.  If I was already going to be hooked up to all of the other machines, I might as well.

Monday morning we were both wide awake bright and early.  Josh and I were on the road by a quarter after five and drove through torrential downpours and thunderstorms to get to the hospital.  We did manage a stop at McDonald's though so that I could get a sausage biscuit, which I knew might be my last meal for awhile that day.  Once we arrived at the hospital, Josh dropped me off at the door and I went upstairs to get registered.  A family getting out of the elevator saw me walking in with my bags and said that I was looking pretty good for it to be that time.  I thanked them and did not mention that unfortunately I was not actually in labor.  Once upstairs, I registered with the front desk and Josh came upstairs just as I was headed to our room.  It was around six o'clock on the dot by the time the first IV went in, and it did not go well.  The nurse missed my vein and it burst, causing a big bump on my hand. I teared up a little once it was pulled back out because I felt like everything was already going wrong and my nerves started getting to me.  It was really the first time in nine months that I had any sort of anxiety, but Josh assured me that all was going to be just fine.  A second nurse came in and put a new IV in properly and they started me on a saline drip... our day had begun!

Bye bye, belly!  And notice the really hot (I mean, they were literally HOT) compression socks I had to wear for better circulation.  I make labor look GOOD!
The first hour was spent with nurses coming in and out to check blood pressure and get things set up.  The weather was still pretty terrible and we heard that there were tornado watches all around us.  It has rained on every single one of mine and Josh's special occasions, so something about that news calmed me down a bit.  Around seven, the nurse came in and turned on the dreaded pitocin, but assured me that she was only setting it to a 2.  I wasn't sure what the highest number was, but a 2 sounded reasonable.  We called my sister, Angie, and let her know that my induction was officially underway and she could head over whenever.  I was given the privilege of seeing my friend Chelsea's baby come into the world back in January and once I learned that my sisters had never been given the opportunity to see it for themselves, I invited them both to be there for Lilly's arrival.  Mindy had to work unfortunately, but she's got dibs (along with Chelsea... I owe her one!) on our next child... which will hopefully be a few years down the road!  Angie must have been waiting by the door because she got there quickly!  I'm not sure who was more excited!

A couple of hours passed and they had turned up my pitocin a couple of times when the doctor came in to check me around ten o'clock.  I was at a 3 and a half, which made him decide that it was time to break my water.  When I had Jake, my water broke unexpectedly and it was by far one of the strangest things I had ever experienced.  This time it was much more methodical and the gush of water (sorry... from here on out it will probably get a bit more graphic, so if you don't want to hear about it, I recommend that you stop reading now!) was much more gradual.  And when they had said that I had a lot of fluid, they were not kidding!  I could literally hear it pooling underneath me and Josh said that it looked to be about twice as much as I had with Jake.  She sure had a nice little private pool for nine months!

This is the point when my epidural debate started again.  From all of the reading I had done, I knew that an epidural could slow down labor.  I asked the nurse when she thought I should get it and she told me that it was up to me.  I didn't want to get it too soon so I decided to wait until my contractions started getting stronger, which did not take long at all.  Within a half of an hour they were right on top of each other and pretty intense, so I was breathing through each one and trying to stay relaxed.  I started getting clammy and nauseous and was quickly reminded of how fun labor really is!  The funny part about deciding that I would get an epidural is once I had my mind set on it, the anesthesiologist could not have gotten there quickly enough!  I felt like I had to wait forever, but it was probably only about fifteen minutes of hard contractions that I had to endure.  The woman who administered it was a sweet lady named Mae, and she quickly became my favorite person.  She talked me through everything that she was doing and immediately put a booster in my line to help ease the intensity (and cool me off) a bit.  I will say, the best part (in my opinion) about the epidural was how cold it felt on my back.  I tend to stay really hot and sweaty, which leads to nauseous and throwing up (fun!) so I was grateful for the change in my body temperature.  After about 10 minutes, the tingly feeling started in my legs and within 15 I could not feel a thing.  NOT. A. THING. in my belly.  My sister would watch the contraction monitor and comment on how big each contraction was, but I was oblivious.  For a girl who was at one time pretty anti-epidural, I sure changed my tune!  And the anesthesiologist clearly knew what she was doing because I could still move my legs and wiggle my toes unlike the last time.  It was bliss I tell you.

The next hour was pretty uneventful, but I was able to joke around and chat with Josh, Angie, and the nurses.  Around eleven the nurse came in to check me, and was just as surprised as I was when she announced that I was already at an 8!  I had been at a 3 1/2 just about an hour ago!  Apparently the epidural does not have the slow-down effect on me that I had read about!  She left us alone again and we all just talked about how excited we were to meet Lillian.  By the time she came back to check me again (around noon), she told me that it was time to call the doctor!  I was tremedously surprised and ecstatic to say the least.  She left to get the doctor and suddenly about four other nurses and four nursing students walked in.  Two of the nurses were from the nursery and would be taking care of Lillian, one was another labor and delivery nurse, and one was the nursing students' instructor.  Upon check-in that morning, I had signed a waiver that said that I was willing to have nursing students in the room with me to observe.  Granted, I was expecting maybe one student, so it was a bit of a surprise to have four!  But again, I was in epidural-heaven and just went with it.  If it had been my first baby, or if I was trying for natural labor again, I probably would not have been too thrilled, but everything had been so easy thus far that I thought why not!  

The nurse finally came back and told me that both doctors were in surgery so it would be about fifteen minutes "doctor time."  Which meant that they'd be there whenever they got done.  The room cleared out again and we just sat and waited.  And sat.  And waited.  And sat.  And... well, you get the point.  It turned out that "doctor time" was really around an hour, and the whole time I could literally feel Lillian pushing on my pelvic bones every time I had a contraction, so every couple of minutes I would feel insane amounts of pressure.  Had I not had an epidural, I'm pretty sure my body would have reacted and started pushing, so I was thankful that I was able to relax.  I told Josh that I was pretty sure the baby was going to fall out at any minute!

Around 1:00 my doctor finally came in along with the parade of nurses.  In total, there were eleven people in the room, not counting myself!  Once everything was set up and ready to go (which didn't take long since they had everything ready about an hour earlier) she told me that she could already see the baby's head!  Crazy!  With Jake it had taken me almost an hour to get to that point, so that was awesome news to hear.  I will say, the only downside of the epidural was that I could not tell when I needed to push.  With Jake, it was such a relief to push through those painful contractions, but since I was numb, they had to tell me when to start and stop.  And then I couldn't really tell if I was doing a good job or not.  It was weird.  I'm actually glad that I had been through it before without the numbness because I could kind of remember how to "bear down" and push effectively.  At one point between pushes I looked up and saw all of these faces staring back at me and all of the students had these excited expressions on their faces.  I started laughing because of the absurdity of it all!  I'm still a little stunned that I could actually just laugh and enjoy myself at this point in the day.  The doctor had me not push through one of the contractions and I learned later that the cord had been around her neck and she took that time to untangle it.  I would have never known since she stayed so calm and handled it like it was no big deal... which I guess it isn't if you're a doctor who sees these things frequently.  Surprisingly, after about 20 minutes, she told me that it would take one more push and she was right!  At 1:29 PM Lillian Joy Mauney made her entrance into this world and even received a round of applause.  Or maybe that was for me... either way, it was pretty awesome.  They wiped her down and put her on me, which is always the most magical moment for me.  She was pretty purple, but absolutely beautiful.  I felt much more alert and lucid after delivery this time around, and those first moments of me and Josh holding her and loving on her were so very special.  Angie took video of our "first meeting" and I tear up every time I see it... I still stick to my theory that those moments are the closest a person can ever get to physically meeting God here on earth. Josh stayed with her as she was weighed and measured and the nurses finished cleaning up.  I could not believe that everything had happened so quickly and honestly, I would do it again tomorrow if it went that way every time!  What a difference from the first time.

How many people does it take to deliver a baby?

One of my favorite pics... the students were SO excited to observe!
First meeting our daughter... love those magical moments

Brand new beauty... love at first sight

Lilly and our wonderful doctor... we loved her!

Proud Daddy
Our first visitors arrived shortly after she was born, and the first one in the room was Jake.  It was so good to see and love on him!  He climbed right up into the bed with me and the two of us shared some cookies.  Josh brought the baby over, but he was much more interested in his snack.  It's now 2 1/2 weeks later and not much has changed in that department!  He says "baby" when he remembers that she's in the room or when she cries, but pretty much ignores her for the most part.  He does try to put her pacifier in her mouth from time to time, even if she's sleeping, so that's pretty cute, and only once has he hugged her, which almost made me cry.  I actually prefer that he leaves her alone because I don't have to worry too much about him messing with her, but I'm sure things will change dramatically when she starts doing more than just sleeping.  He also hasn't had many jealousy issues, although he did get pretty upset when I wouldn't pick him up and carry him the first week that we were home.  I'm glad that phase has passed.

He looks even bigger to me now!  He's going to be a great big brother!

Throughout the day we had all of our family in the area come and visit the newest member, including Mindy and Michael who drove down from Cincinnati.  Angie agreed that being on the "other side" of labor was an amazing experience and I know that Mindy was bummed that she had to miss out.  We would've loved to have had her there, too.

Our other labor partner... thanks, Angie!

Finally a girl!  Lilly with her mommy and two awesome aunties!

It was nice to have a couple of days to spend as just the three of us, but we were definitely ready to get home when it came time!  And I must say, these first few weeks of being a family of four have been so great.  I feel so blessed to have two beautiful children and a loving husband.  Lillian has definitely turned out to be the easier baby of the two thus far, so I feel like I am enjoying this early stage even more than I did the first time.  Plus, I am more confident in my mothering skills, which helps tremendously.  And I am loving the time off from work to just love on the both of them everyday.  It doesn't get much better than that!  One of these days when I find some time (ha!) I will update my blog header so that she's included... Mauneyland now has an official population of FOUR!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Case You Hadn't Heard...

She's finally here!

Lillian Joy arrived at 1:29 PM on Monday, September 26th... 8 pounds, 6 ounces (smaller than her brother- yay!) and 20 1/2 inches long.  To say that I am over the moon in love would be the understatement of the year.  My blogging has taken the backseat, not because I'm so overwhelmed by having 2 kids, but because I can't stop staring at her.  I literally get nothing done because all I want to do is hold my sweet girl all day long... which sums up this past week.

This week I do plan to sit down and write out her birth story, although I probably shouldn't post it for fear of being beat up based on how darn easy it was.  But I know my readers and there are at least three of you that love those gory details- you know who you are!  I have tons of pictures from the labor and delivery, too, so perhaps I'll post some of the more appropriate ones!  I wish that labor and delivery experience on every woman- hands down!

So far Jake has taken the transition so very well and we could not be happier about it.  He pretty much forgets she's around and then lights up and says "Baby!" when he hears or sees her.  Sometimes he even does the sign language sign along with it, which is super cute.  He doesn't really want to touch her, except for her toes when we ask him where they are, but he'll climb up and sit next to us from time to time.  The most difficult thing for me right now is that I'm not supposed to lift him, so he gets pretty upset when I don't pick him up when he needs me.  It's heart-breaking, but should only last a couple more days.  All in all, he's been amazing, but we have noticed that he has become a bit more dramatic (and funny) and we're not sure if it's his way of making sure he still gets attention.  And the only time he has shown any sign of jealousy was when our nephew, Kevin, was holding the baby.  Kevin is his hero and he not only gave Kevin a look that showed how disgusted he was with the whole event, but he also dropped to the ground and rolled onto his back... it really sent him into a depression!  He's too funny.

We were welcomed home on Wednesday and the whole family came by to see and hold Miss Lillian.  We feel so truly blessed to have everyone nearby now.

So all is beyond well here.  Having two is not quite as overwhelming as I thought it would be (yet) but I think it's because Lillian has been such an easy baby thus far.  She would probably sleep through the night if I let her, but I try to wake her for feedings.  Jake is by far the bigger handful of the two, so not a whole lot has changed.  I am so very thankful that God balanced the scales a little bit by giving me a sweet, calm, mellow girl after my rambunctious, full of energy, crazy boy.  I could not be more in love with the two of them... God is oh so good!

That's all I've got for now... I'm off to go cuddle that sweet girl before we go to bed.  Because seriously, who can resist this sweet face?